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Targeted Killings: Israel's Greatest, Foolish Gift to Iran-backed Islamic Jihad

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This article was orginally published on Nov 5th, 2019. On Nov 12th, Israel killed a top Islamic Jihad commander, in first such operation since 2014 Gaza War.


Last weekend, Islamic Jihad activists surprised Israel and Hamas, launching 10 primitive projectiles towards Israel's south after a long period of calm.

And the pretenders to Israel's political throne, Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, surprised nobody when they declared Israel should respond by returning to the policy of targeted killings of prominent Palestinian militant leaders.

Islamic Jihad's actions go against the tide of public opinion in Gaza, whose long-suffering population has no interest in provoking another round of ruinous conflict with Israel. But the greatest gift Israel could bestow on Islamic Jihad, mainstreaming what is right now a peripheral position, would be to reinstate its assassination policy.

Islamic Jihad's escalation was all the more perplexing coming just two weeks after Egypt invited its leaders to Cairo alone - without Hamas. That signalled to the group's leaders they'd achieved the special attention they've been craving. Egyptian intelligence deliberately inflated their egos by marking them as equal to Hamas - if not as potential replacements.

They even got a sumptuous leaving present: Egypt released 81 IJ members, who'd been detained in Egyptian jails, some of whom were senior activists or their relatives. All of this theater was designed to buy Islamic Jihad's cooperation in maintaining the ceasefire status quo.

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Egypt's generosity was insufficiently enticing. After the rocket launches, Saraya Al-Quds, the IJ's armed wing, stated that it was retaliating for Israel's resumed use of live fire on Gazan protesters in the weekly Great Return March, where 88 protesters were injured last Friday.

But Islamic Jihad's escalation was not widely welcomed in Gaza. It went against........

© Haaretz